I already blogged about the new 410 billion dollar omnibus bill here, but on John Boehner’s blog, I found out more about it. It’s not just that it contains 9000 earmarks, as Michelle Malkin noted. On John Boehner’s blog, he argues that the bill also contains a hidden provision that would destroy the voucher program in Washington, D.C..
This post states:
Congressional Democrats are scheming to deny low-income parents and students in the nation’s capital a popular school choice program by inserting a provision mandating Congress renew the program before more money is spent on it. While this may sound innocuous enough, it would serve as a death blow to the groundbreaking D.C. school choice program – a goal Congressional Democrats have sought since taking control of Congress in 2007.
The post also links to a video produced by the Heritage Foundation that shows some of the affected students pleasing with Obama to let them attend private schools using vouchers, instead of attending defective public schools.
You may have heard that Washington, D.C. spends the most amount of money per pupil, but gets the least return on their investment. Andrew Coulson of the libertarian Cato Institute calculates the cost per student per year as $24,600. That is not a typo. The Washington Times notes that the voucher system cost only $7500 per year, and produced far better results than the government-run, union-staffed public schools.
The Opportunity Scholarship Program that Congress established allows more than 1,900 low-income D.C. children to receive vouchers so they can attend the private school of their parents’ choosing. The scholarships are good for up to $7,500. So, the best bet is obvious: a $7,500 voucher that caters to children – not a one-size-fits-all $24,600 per-pupil plan. The former has measurable academic success and incredible parental demand; the latter consistently places children at the bottom rungs of the academic ladder. In fact, D.C. ranked the lowest in math and reading, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests released in September.
The Boston Globe summarizes the numbers on reading and math here:
According to the authoritative National Assessment of Education Progress, only one in seven fourth-graders is ranked at grade-level (“proficient”) or better in reading and math. Among eighth-graders, only one in eight is proficient in reading; only one in 12 can handle eighth-grade math.
John Boehner is quote in his blog post as follows:
The D.C. school choice program has provided hope for thousands of low-income children in the District of Columbia since it was established, and has been demonstrating results when it comes to parental satisfaction and increased parental involvement. Eliminating this program would represent an irresponsible and shameful act on the part of the Democratic leadership in Congress, and the children of the District of Columbia deserve better.
If the Barack Obama is willing to take away school-choice from the poorest students in the nation in order to satisfy the teachers unions that got him elected, then what hope do the rest of us have of keeping our liberty?